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Federal Voter Turnout in First Nations Reserves (20042011) (Research Note)


This study examined the trends in federal voter turnout, between 2004 and 2011, in polling divisions located on First Nations reserves. The findings indicate that turnout rates are consistently lower in First Nations reserves when compared to the country as a whole, with an average difference of 17.4 percentage points between on-reserve and general turnout from 2004 to 2011. Over this period, on-reserve turnout followed the same fluctuations as the rest of the country, suggesting that the same factors are at play among electors living on reserve and in the general population.

From 2004 to 2011, on-reserve turnout rates have been the lowest in Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec particularly, and highest in Yukon and Prince Edward Island. However, a breakdown by riding reveals significant variations in most provinces, most notably in Quebec.

This spatial analysis could be leveraged to further assist in determining where enhanced outreach and target revision would be most beneficial and effective in promoting full participation of First Nations electors.